The Afghanistan Papers

For nearly two decades of fighting in Afghanistan, U.S. leaders have sounded a constant refrain: We are making progress. They were not, and they knew it. The Post has obtained records from more than 400 government interviews that reveal the doubts of those who were directly involved in the war.

The Afghanistan Papers
    At war with the truth

    At war with the truth

    The Washington Post - By Craig Whitlock

    U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it, an exclusive Post investigation found. A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan …

    A secret history of the war

    A secret history of the war

    The Washington Post - By Craig Whitlock

    In a cache of previously unpublished interviews and memos, key insiders reveal what went wrong during the longest armed conflict in U.S. history For 18 years, America has been at war in Afghanistan. As part of a government project to understand what went wrong, a federal agency interviewed more than …

    Consumed by corruption

    Consumed by corruption

    The Washington Post - By Craig Whitlock

    The U.S. flooded the country with money — then turned a blind eye to the graft it fueled About halfway into the 18-year war, Afghans stopped hiding how corrupt their country had become. Dark money sloshed all around. Afghanistan’s largest bank liquefied into a cesspool of fraud. Travelers lugged …

    Stranded without a strategy

    Stranded without a strategy

    The Washington Post - By Craig Whitlock

    Bush and Obama had polar-opposite plans to win the war. Both were destined to fail. Arlington Cemetery, Section 60, 2014 (Amanda Voisard for The Post) In the beginning, the rationale for invading Afghanistan was clear: to destroy al-Qaeda, topple the Taliban and prevent a repeat of the 9/11 terrorist …

    Built to fail

    Built to fail

    The Washington Post - By Craig Whitlock

    Despite vows the U.S. wouldn’t get mired in ‘nation-building,’ it’s wasted billions doing just that George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump all promised the same thing: The United States would not get stuck with the burden of “nation-building” in Afghanistan. In October 2001, shortly after …

    Unguarded nation

    Unguarded nation

    The Washington Post - By Craig Whitlock

    Afghan security forces, despite years of training, were dogged by incompetence and corruption For almost two decades, U.S. military commanders have assured the public they are making progress on the cornerstone of their war strategy: to build a strong Afghan army and police force that can defend the …

    Overwhelmed by opium

    Overwhelmed by opium

    The Washington Post - By Craig Whitlock

    The U.S. war on drugs in Afghanistan has imploded at nearly every turn In late 2017, U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan launched Operation Iron Tempest, a storm of airstrikes by B-52 bombers, F-22 Raptors and other warplanes. The main target: a network of clandestine opium production labs that …

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    The Afghanistan Papers

    The Afghanistan Papers

    For nearly two decades of fighting in Afghanistan, U.S. leaders have sounded a constant refrain: We are making progress. They were not, and they knew it, documents reveal.